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Future of education uses technology to lead

The future of education is a fascinating topic. Lori Williams, SAP Education's Director of Strategy and Transformation, discusses what education might look like in the coming years.
Dec 30, 2013

The future of education is a fascinating topic to research. We found an insightful interview today while searching the world wide web.

One of the key points in this interview is the fact that education cannot hide from advancements in technology. They have to become not just aware of the innovations happening with technology but also the best practices for integrating such technologies into the classroom.

We’re a couple steps ahead of ourselves. Dagostino Electronic Services, Inc., prides itself as a company educators trust when it comes to integrating technology into schools.  We have numerous customers that are K-12 school districts across Pennsylvania.  We help them with integrating IT infrastructures to act as the backbone for technology advancements, which we can help out with making those advancements too.

The Future Of Education Relies On Big Data And Networks


Educational institutions at all levels have been challenging the centuries-old approach to learning — a teacher at the front of the classroom dispensing a set curriculum to a passive audience — with new teaching methods in the classroom. Many of these approaches are driven by technology, with the Internet, e-learning, educational games, and mobile devices finding their way into the classroom.

The leveraging of technology is only accelerating, with implications for primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as for corporate learning. I caught up with Lori Williams, SAP Education’s Director of Strategy and Transformation, for a glimpse of what education might look like in the next few years. Among the innovations she considers most promising are Big Data and the development of technology-enabled networks of social learning.

Q: How are learners replacing large institutions as the drivers of education?

Lori Williams: As we move into the future, learners will be less controlled by the educational system and more empowered to drive their own outcomes. That’s largely the result of new technology that enables students, teachers, and institutions to all have a much better understanding of where each student is in the learning process.

Today, most students go to class for weeks or months before a test assesses their progress. In the meantime, both student and teacher might not have a clear idea of whether the student truly comprehends the material. What’s more, if students aren’t grasping the material, they’re limited in what they can do about it, because the teacher and the rest of the class will have already moved on to new material.

In the future, data capture and analysis will allow students and teachers to perform day-to-day assessments to understand where students are grasping the material and where they need to spend more time. They’ll also be able to see the learning objects they need to interact with and how they correlate with learning outcomes.

Q: What are some of the advances in technologies that will make education more personalized?

Lori Williams: Cloud computing, mobile technology, and collaborative tools can all help make learning content more accessible and personalized. But a key requirement will be Big Data. Educators will need to be able to capture and analyze data on a daily and individual basis.

To achieve that, they’ll need a platform that can manage very large data volumes. They’ll also need sophisticated, high-speed analytics to make sense of all that data. Today, the grade book is the teacher’s “Big Data.” And that gives very little indication of how quickly and effectively students are learning. Data analytics will allow educators to personalize learning content to meet the needs of the individual learner.

Q: How will social networks become key to education?

Lori Williams: An important aspect of education is the student-teacher relationship. Today students have relationships with a single teacher or maybe a half-dozen teachers. And typically that relationship is limited to the classroom, in the company of 20 to 50 other students.

Online networks give educators new opportunities to offer students new levels of information and guidance. Blackboard has been a leader in this area. It allows teachers to put assignments online and facilitate online conversations.

But we envision social education networks growing much broader. So instead of one teacher or six teachers, students can encounter dozens or hundreds of subject-matter experts. And if the expert doesn’t mesh with the student’s learning style, the student can quickly find an expert who does. Students can also connect with other students who are interested in the same topics. And none of this is limited by geography, as with traditional learning. Students will have access to educational opportunities across the globe.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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